Legacy Content

Toon Talk Special: Disney's MVPs - Part One
Page 1 of 5

by Kirby Holt (archives)
August 22, 2003
Kirby picks his top 50 Disney MVPs - the supporting characters that get the best lines and hit a home run every time.

Toon Talk
Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt

A Toon Talk Special:
Disney Animated Films

Part 1 of 2

What is a ‘Most Valuable Player’? In football and other sports, a ‘Most Valuable Player’ is the one who gets all the glory, the best of the team, the award-winning star player. But in the movies, the ‘Most Valuable Player’ is more often then not on the sidelines, an unsung supporting character who gets all the best lines, and, to continue the sporting parlance, hits a home run every time.

More commonly (and, some would say, crassly) referred to as the ‘scene-stealer’, these characters make a great film even better. If the movie were a television show, these characters would be the subjects of spin-off rumors, and if these toons were human, their performances would be labeled ‘Oscar bait’ in the supporting acting categories.

In the realm of the Disney animated feature, the ‘Most Valuable Player’ can be the sidekick, the comic relief, or even the colorful background character. They can be cute and cuddly or conniving and crafty, and maybe even burst into song occasionally or “dress and drag and do the hula?. But one thing they all share: you’ll never forget ’em.

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Some ground rules were created for this particular list: Only one character (or, in some cases, groups of related characters) per movie (after all, we’re talking ‘Most Valuable Players’ here) and no heroes or leading ladies or even villains were considered … maybe on some other list in the future, but for now, it’s the chance for these characters, these ‘Most Valuable Players’, to bask in the Toon Talk spotlight …

Melody Time -

Trapped in a surrealistic, symphonic nightmare, our little hero is subjected to a swingin’ “Flight of the Bumblebee?; he is not so much an individual insect, but an everyman figure struggling to survive, something all audiences can relate to … of course, without the giant morphing musical instruments …

Lilo and Stitch
- 2002

An obvious tourist with an even more obviously painful sunburn, all this portly fellow wants is some quiet time with his mint chocolate chip ice cream, but the strange natives and … a giant red spaceship? … just won’t leave him be. A testament to the talented filmmakers that even this silent bit player creates sympathy … not to mention big laughs.

The Fox and the Hound
- 1981

Both a kindly owl embodying maternal warmth and wisdom to the young fox Todd and, as voiced by Broadway legend Pearl Bailey, a sassy mother figure with a fine set of pipes (as heard in the songs “Best of Friends? and “Appreciate the Lady?) … Ladies and gentlemen, le grand diva of the forest.

#47 - THE FOX
Mary Poppins
- 1964

Those penguins get all the glory, but the real star of the animated “Jolly Holiday? is this feisty, frazzled fox. “Faith and begorrah, ‘tis dem redcoats again!? he exclaims, in a thick Irish brogue (supplied by Dallas McKennon); when rescued by Bert during the faithful foxhunt, he turns the tables on the hounds, even managing to get in a few licks of his own.

#46 - ROLLY
101 Dalmatians
- 1961

Patch may have got the sequel, but his tubby littermate was the one that really stood out from the one hundred and one in the original film. Rolly (voiced by Barbara Beaird) was well named, he being ‘roly-poly’ and all, and was easy to, ah, spot in the crowd … he’s the one that is always hungry. Just watch how he goes for that cow udder … down boy!

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